Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Trump’s Defense Begins w/ Take-Down of ‘Constitutional Cancel Culture’

'You can't incite what was already going to happen...'

Rebounding from what was widely criticized as a discursive and uncharismatic debut during Tuesday’s arguments over whether to proceed with the impeachment trial, former president Donald Trump‘s lawyers began with a poignant rebuke of Democrats’ hypocritical and retaliatory politics.

Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen listed a litany of examples in which Democrats raised their own baseless allegations of vote fraud during the joint session of Congress and where they actively encouraged their leftist base to engage in political violence.

“Under the standards of the House impeachment articles, each of these individuals should be retroactively censored, expelled, punished or impeached for inciting violence by their supporters,” van der Veen said.

He did not hold back in calling out some of the left-wing senators who sat in judgment of the defendant, including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Although Sanders—unlike Schumer and Booker—had not himself engaged in violent and incendiary rhetoric, a supporter of his opened fire on GOP members in 2017 during practice for the annual congressional baseball game, nearly killing then-House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

“It cannot be forgotten that President Trump did not blame the junior senator” for inciting the violent attack, van der Veen said of Sanders’ role.

However, focusing on one of the group of six “centrist” GOP senators who previously voted in support of the impeachment, he reminded Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that she had been the victim of such violence after a mob surrounded her private residence.

“One of the House managers—I forget which one—tweeted ‘cry me a river,'” van der Veen recalled, with a knowing glance over his glasses toward the opposing side.

Following two full days of recycled clips of violence from the House impeachment managers as they desperately tried to weave a harrowing narrative of last month’s uprising to senators who were, themselves, present at the scene, Trump’s team countered with video clips of its own, including an impactful one that compared the Democrats’ dismissals of rioting last year with Trump’s repeated calls for law and order.

“Unlike the Left, President Trump has been entirely consistent in his opposition to mob violence,” van der Veen said.

He noted that the Jan. 6 “Save America Rally” was no exception, as far as Trump and his conservative allies were concerned.

“The entire premise of his remarks was that the democratic process would and should play out according to the letter of the law,” van der Veen said, pointing to tweets and lines in his speech during the rally that repeatedly underscored the need for peace and respect for law enforcement.

“… The gathering on Jan. 6 was supposed to be a peaceful event—make no mistake about that,” he said.

But he said a handful of bad actors had conspired in advance to undermine Trump’s message of peace.

“It is apparent that extremists of various different stripes and political persuasions pre-planned and premeditated” the siege on the Capitol, van der Veen said, referencing a radical left-wing activist—presumably John Sullivan—who was one of the first arrested and first to be released in the aftermath.

While Trump has called for those who perpetrated the violence and vandalism to be prosecuted to the fullest extent, the evidence of advance planning was enough to destroy the attempted case for incitement.

“You can’t incite what was already going to happen,” van der Veen said.

He also pointed to the intentional decision by Democrat leaders, such as Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser, to decline additional law-enforcement support after Trump offered in advance to furnish extra National Guardsmen.

“There must be a discussion of the decision by political leadership regarding forced posture and security in advance of the event,” he said.

Van der Veen echoed President Joe Biden’s cursory calls shortly after his inauguration for “national unity,” saying that this was a time to scale back the partisan bickering of the past decades that built to a crescendo during Trump’s presidency.

“Now is not the time for such a campaign of retribution,” he said.

“It is a time for unity and healing and focusing on the interests of the nation as a whole,” he continued. “We should all be seeking to cool temperatures, calm passions, rise above partisan lines.”

Conversely, though, the baseless, partisan impeachment trial not only prevented wound’s from closing, but it threatened to do irreparable damage to the fabric of democracy, he warned.

“This would transform the solemn impeachment process into a mechanism for asserting congressional control over which private citizens are and are not allowed to run for president,” van der Veen said.

“… It is constitutional cancel culture,” he continued. “History will record this shameful effort as a deliberate attempt by the Democratic Party to smear, censor and cancel not just President Trump but the 75 million Americans who voted for him.”

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